Earlier today I discovered that Patricia Wells, the American-born Paris and Provence dweller, has won a James Beard award, in the International category, for her Provence Cookbook. I’ve just finished reading two of her cookbooks – At Home in Provence and The Paris Cookbook – in preparation for her bistro class this weekend at Savour New Zealand and I’m very intrigued about the food that she’s going to cook.
It’s not that I’ve had much exposure to French bistro cookery but what I have encountered while on brief visits to France – and now through Patricia’s books – has given me the inkling that this is food that I’ll enjoy. Full flavoured, seasonal and of the terrior (meaning the taste of place), bistro cooking is something that very much appeals to me.
In her books Patricia is an active supporter and promoter of small producers, giving the names and addresses of many in both Paris and Provence. We may not all be able to visit and purchase from these specific people but most of us have access to something similar in our own areas of the world. Little markets, like the St Albans Market, enable you to discover the small producers in your own locality. It’s worth exploring – without interested consumers they’re going to have a hard time of it. And who knows what you may find!